In keeping with the excellent results observed last year, the Emerald Isle posted 11% growth in arrivals in the first ten months of 2016. The Republic of Ireland welcomed more visitors during this period than during the entire previous business year.
These results appear to confirm the credibility of tourism initiatives and campaigns launched in recent years. Patrick O'Donovan Minister for Tourism has just announced new developments for the Wild Atlantic Way - a tourism itinerary that has been truly successful, with both visitors and professionals on the sector. In Clare and Limerick, counties the Shannon Estuary Drive and Burren Drive itineraries will strengthen the existing ones. While the The Irish Times foresees a brutal stop in the development of arrivals due to the limits of Ireland's hotel industry in terms of capacity, Patrick O'Donovan announced the launch of several plans for tourism development, with an aim to target priority regions as part of a national strategy for the sector.
While Brexit risks causing a drop in British arrivals in the Republic of Ireland, authorities will also take special care to attract long-haul who favor long stays - making the necessary spending - especially visitors from American, Australian and Chinese supply markets. Making Irish tourism more 'Chinese-friendly' was made a priority of Tourism Ireland by its Chief Executive, Niall Gibbons. The opening of new air routes in 2017 should also facilitate growth in arrivals: Qatar Airways will provide the new connection between Dublin and Doha, Aer Lingus will service Miami, and also increase service to Chicago, Los Angeles and Orlando.
Regarding the country's hotel shortage may be added growing environmental concerns. Close to 1.6 million visitors admired the Cliffs of Moher in Clare Country, causing authorities to adapt to the sudden increase in visitors to a natural site. Niall Gibbons believes this rapid growth raises a real question regarding the sustainable development of Ireland's tourism industry. Will the Emerald Isle be able to stay green with this unprecedented influx of arrivals?
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